"There Can Be No Question"

As we approach our Development Review Board hearing, we thought we'd share some letters in support of Mirror Theater Ltd/GAAR. Today's letters are by John H. Hasen and Sonia E. Dunbar. Both letters are used here with permission of the authors. Previous letters can be found below. If you would like to add your support, please email us.


"There Can Be No Question..."

"To The DRB:

I write in support of the application of the Greensboro Arts Alliance and Residency to add a cupola to the theatre structure which has been approved in the Rural Lands District.

According to the Greensboro Zoning Bylaws, the height limitation for structures within the Rural Lands District is 35 feet. Bylaw Section 2.5. However, the Bylaws provide an exception this this restriction; “the height limitations of these Regulations shall not apply to… cupolas… or other appurtenances not used for human occupancy up to a maximum of 50 feet.” Bylaw Section 3.12

It is my understanding that the structure that has been approved stands at a height of 35 feet and that the cupola (which will not be used for human occupancy) will add 7’2” to the building, thereby bringing the total height of the structure to less than 43 feet, a height within the 50 feet maximum allowed by Section 3.12.

It is also my understanding that the purpose of the cupola is wholly aesthetic in nature, and has been proposed to mitigate the aesthetic impact of the flat roof in the present design and to bring the overall aesthetics of the theatre closer to other structures in Greensboro, in particular the new fire station, which shares a crossroads with the proposed theatre. This being the case, it would appear that the cupola represents a positive addition to the theatre building.

Others, I am certain, will write of the positive cultural and economic aspects that the theatre will bring to Greensboro. These are, to me, a given. However, considering this proposal strictly within the language of the Zoning Bylaws, there can be no question that the cupola is permitted by the Regulations and, indeed, a rejection of the present application would run counter to the plain language of Section 3.12.

Thank you for your consideration.

John H. Hasen
126 Aspenhurst"


"A Vast Improvement"

"Dear Board Members,

It is my understanding that the Mirror Theater/GAAR is about to come before you to request approval for what is in essence an aesthetic improvement to the roof plan for the primary, circular space for the new theatre.  I would like to offer my support for the change in roofline to include a cupola.  

I am aware that it has been a primary concern of those developing the theatre to construct a structure that is in keeping with the feel of a rural, agricultural region at the same time that it meets the needs of an artistic community.  To that end, the shape and aesthetics of a Vermont round barn have served as inspiration for the organizations involved.  As someone who has been a part of 6 generations of dairy farmers in East Craftsbury, as well as someone who has longed for a local theatrical organization since learning of Miss Jean Simpson’s East Hill Players when I was a member of her Girl Scout troupe as a child, the plans I’ve seen have been a beautiful melding of two often diverse communities.  

When I learned of the desire to add the cupola, I could not recall ever having seen one without a cupola.  I, therefore, took the liberty of doing a quick Google search for images of Vermont round barns.  I located images of round barns with cupolas in at least the following Vermont towns: Irasburg, East Barnet, Waitsfield, Shelbourne, and Huntington.  In fact, after looking through dozens of images from Vermont and elsewhere, I came across no round barns that did not have cupolas.

Based just upon this research – which can easily be performed by anyone with internet access and a desire to do so – I can see no legitimate reason to deny this request for aesthetic reasons. In fact, I consider it a vast improvement toward meeting their desire to honour the aesthetics and heritage of their artistic home and would urge your approval.

Very truly yours,
Sonia E. Dunbar"

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